August 19, 2013
Photographer: Leonardo Orazi
Summary Authors: Leonardo Orazi; Jim Foster
The photo above showing a distant thunderhead looming over a range of the snow capped Alps was taken near Aosta, Italy, on May 11, 2013. It’s illuminated from within by cloud-to-cloud lightning, a tongue of which appears to flick the side of the 8,500 ft (2,591 m) mountain. During spring and summer, quickly developing mountain thunderstorms are a major concern for climbers and hikers.
Spring snow melt in the Alps, as well as in many mountain ranges in the Northern Hemisphere, has been occurring earlier in the season in recent decades than a century ago, however, the onset of the snow accumulation period in autumn has been little changed.